The Declared Pest rate (DPR)

The PHBG and the DPR

Since its inception in 2014, using short-term and limited funding opportunities, the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group has:

  • Delivered the Cotton Bush and Apple of Sodom Field Day (with over 60 landholders)
  • Delivered the Pest Fest with Sabrina Hahn (with over 200 community members)
  • Attended local agricultural shows and community events with an information stall providing one-on-one support to landholders in the management of declared pests
  • Coordinated 3 releases of the RHDV1 K5 strain of the calicivirus to over 60 sites to assist landholders with feral rabbit control
  • Coordinated a herbicide resistance workshop for local contractors and government officers to prevent local herbicide resistance issues
  • Supported the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in their annual cotton bush compliance programs using community reports to highlight action areas.

There was no way to maintain these activities, or expand the level of engagement with landholders, unless funding could be secured. The Declared Pest Rate, offers dollar-for-dollar matching funds from the State Government and represents the only long-term funding model available for recognised biosecurity groups to continue to support the local community. Without this funding, biosecurity groups would not be able to continue to deliver successful events and programs.

In a nutshell, only those areas that show that they are self-driven to keep established pests under control will receive support from the State Government.

The Declared Pest Rate sits within a broader framework set out by the State Government.

To give you a bigger picture understanding we have uploaded a number of short videos for you to watch. We have also put together some extra notes.

This 5 minute video talks about biosecurity in the context of;

  • Invasive species
  • Prevention, eradication, containment and asset based protection
  • Surveillance

This 2 minute video talks about biosecurity in the context of;

  • Established pests
  • A community coordinated approach
  • Biosecurity groups

This nine minute video highlights the work being done by Recognised Biosecurity Groups in the southern agricultural region.

This short video explains the Declared Pest Rate.

Invasive species

An invasive species is an organism that causes ecological or economic harm in a place where it does not occur naturally.

Whatever their means of arrival, invasive species can have a damaging impact on agriculture, the natural environment and our lifestyle.

Keeping invasive species out of WA, or quickly responding to new incursions, is the highest priority for the State Government. It offers the best return on investment.

For invasive species already in WA, the Department of Agriculture and Regional Development has prioritised its response to focus on high-priority animal and plant species.

The Department will consider additional species - not on the high priority listing - only if there is demonstrable commitment from other stakeholders to take the lead in their control. These stakeholders can include other government departments and authorities (e.g. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, local government) and community groups.

Established pests

Many introduced animals have established large populations across Australia, becoming widespread pests. These pests can significantly affect agricultural productivity and the environment.

Using the term established and/or widespread pests can get on some people's nerves because they object to the inference that they cannot be eradicated.

The PHBG believes that established pests can be removed from an area and kept under control with diligent follow-up. Established pests can also be prevented from taking hold in 'clean' areas with rigorous surveillance and quick remedial action.

However, the absolute eradication of established pests across large and complex landscapes is unlikely. If the Peel Harvey was a small island or had a big barrier fence around it, and we could patrol the borders, there would be a better chance for eradication.

Declared Pests

The Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act) and the associated Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Regulations 2013 (BAM Regulations) allow for organisms to be declared as pests across all or part of Western Australia.

Organisms may become a declared pest if they have or may have in the future, a negative effect on our native environment, the well-being of the community and/or the productivity of the State's agricultural industries.

Details of the currently declared pests are on the WA Organisms List (WAOL).

Community Coordinated Approach

Coordination amongst landholders, community, industry and government is necessary to manage pests at a landscape scale.

The term community coordinated approach is newly coined.

Essentially, it is decision-making that is undertaken by, with, or on behalf of a community, by a group of community stakeholders.

The community coordinated approach has raised the shackles of some landholders as they feel it is another sign that the State Government is backing away from the management of established and declared pests.

Indeed, a clearer understanding needs to be struck between what is best achieved by the community and what is within the scope of government (especially with regards to laws, and the enforcement of those laws).

REcognised Biosecurity Groups

Recognised Biosecurity Groups (RGBs) are incorporated associations meaning they can perform lawful acts that are necessary or convenient for carrying out their objects and purposes.

RBGs are endorsed by the State Government through the provisions of the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007. They do not have any statutory powers.

Ultimately, a well governed and functioning RBG will take the following steps to self-reliance:

  • it will assume responsibility
  • it will be well informed
  • it will know where it is going
  • it will make its own decisions.

The work undertaken by RBGs is intended to add value to pest control undertaken by individual landholders and is not intended to replace individual responsibilities.

Declared Pest Rate

The Declared Pest Rate is a mechanism that provides Recognised Biosecurity Groups with ongoing funds to carry out their work on declared pest control. Funds raised by the rates are matched by the State Government under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007.

Activities funded by a declared pest rate can include;

  • promoting best practice pest management to landholders in their area, and developing and working with networks that encourage community involvement in biosecurity
  • preparing annual work programs, including operational and budget planning
  • carrying out operations or engaging contractors to manage declared pests
  • the management of association affairs including paid support such as executive officers.